The following day we paid NZ $40 per person to go on a guided tour with the Kia Koe company in a mini van to visit all the old historical sites and to see the Moai quarry and upright Moai. It was a great tour and we got to see most of the island by road. If others are planning to do this trip we would advise making sure you get a guide with good English skills. Also the tourist needs to be aware that there is an additional National Park entry fee of NZ $60 which lasts for 5 days. The loop road through the middle of the island and along the coast is mostly tar sealed and gives easy access to the Moai sites. On the far side of the island is a lovely golden sandy beach called Anakena which is great for swimming and is a perfect finish to a great day.
During the day we covered many sites and we walked along the hillside quarry and saw the Moai in various stages of completion. Some were still attached in their unfinished state. There are more than 600 Moai around the island. Many have been restored to their original upright position but many more still lie face down in the soil. The upright ones all face inland to guard over each little settlement of stone houses. The whole island is covered in scoria type volcanic rocks and stones. It is difficult to walk barefooted. In one place there are 15 upright Moai on an Ahu platform all looking inland. It really is impressive.
The Rapanui people of
Easter Island are learning
the importance of the preservation and protection of their important historical
sites. Over 50,000 tourists visit this island every year. Visitors are told not
to touch the Moai or to climb over any barrier fences. The next logical step
would be for the people of Rapanui need to systemically plan for tree planting
on the island and maybe cull out some of the wild horses which damage the
vegetation and the historical sites.
Tour costs plus US $60 park entry fee, toilet use $1.00, lunch was an additional US$25 so we packed our own picnic.